Maxwell avoids eviction with aid of 'white knight'

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Kevin Maxwell, 46, his wife Pandora and their seven children, were due to be evicted from the Elizabethan Moulsford Manor near Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire.

A 28-day repossession order was made on their home at Oxford County Court on 3 June, to be executed if they did not pay the mortgage firm Lexi Holdings £2,926,242.

But yesterday it emerged that an unnamed "white knight" - an acquaintance of Mr Maxwell's - had bought the home, which has been on the market for some time. Mr Maxwell refused to reveal the identity of the buyer in public, but did pass it to the judge in writing. The court heard that his company was called Roundabout Holdings, registered in Grand Cayman. An agreement was reached that the Maxwells pay £150,000 by 4pm on 16 August. Should they default on that, the house will be immediately repossessed.

Mr Maxwell sat with his head in his hands for much of the hearing and at one stage appeared to wipe away a tear. After the proceedings, he refused to comment.

Judge Charles Harris QC dismissed Pandora Maxwell's barrister's application that her court costs be paid. He said yesterday: "The whole thing is the fault of Mrs Maxwell for not paying what she should have done when she should have done. The defendant should pay the claimant's costs to be assessed, both of the hearing before the district judge and the hearing before myself."

Kevin Maxwell was appointed chairman of Maxwell Communications Group after his father's death. The group went into administration and in 1992 he became Britain's biggest bankrupt, with debts reaching £400m.

Lexi Holdings was unable for comment yesterday.